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  1. I accept that there are experiences that can lead to a great presence of mind that are not the enlightenment experience Gautama had—certainly the two teachers that Gautama had in India prior to his enlightenment had such experiences, and my guess is that most people would have regarded them as enlightened, even though in the end Gautama found their teachings unsatisfactory.

    I think most of the teachers regarded as enlightened since Gautama have an intimate familiarity with the elements of mindfulness in Gautama’s way of living, whether they understand those elements through the teachings of Gautama or otherwise, and they have faith that the rhythm of those elements in daily life is the path.

    Sometimes I think there are teachers out there, especially American-born Zen teachers, who are only intimately familiar with the elements of Gautama’s way of living when it comes to sitting still.

    Apparently I’m not the only one—construction on a Zen center is underway in Lake County, California, a Zen center intended as a finishing school for American Zen teachers. I don’t think the school will specialize in how to copy scriptures while sitting seiza on a wood floor, or in the ceremony Zen teachers perform at the altar. Maybe the idea is to teach American Zen teachers to survive on 2000 calories a day while sitting in 100 degree heat and 30 degree cold, Lake County would be good for that.

    My guess is that they would be looking to impart insight into the saying of Nan-Yueh Hwai-Jang (Ta-hui):

    “If you’re studying seated meditation, meditation is not sitting still.”

    (“Dogen’s Meditation Manuals”, Bielefeldt, UC Press 1st edition, p 195)

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